Our tutorial shows you how to save your tires and win races in F1 2020.
Photo credit: Codemasters / GulfAir
Good tire management can be a game changer in Formula 1 races. Saving your tires from wearing out can spare you an additional pit stop which eventually costs you between 20 and 30 seconds.
Not caring for your tires might give you slightly better lap times, but the benefit will almost never be as significant as avoiding an extra pit stop. With our guide, you learn the basics of tire management in no time which will improve your stints in no time!
Are you looking for the latest guide on tire management? Head over to our updated F1 2021 tire tutorial!
Tire management already starts with the preparation of the car. Pressure is an especially important factor in F1 2020 as it affects your ride as well as your tire wear.
High tire pressure will make your car more responsive and allow you to reach higher maximum speeds. This setting will make you particularly fast on tracks with a lot of mid and high-speed corners like Suzuka.
Lower pressure will make your car a bit easier to control because more rubber touches the surface of the track. However, your car will also feel less responsive to your inputs. Low pressure is good on tracks with a lot of slow corners and hard acceleration zones as it will give you more traction.
Finding the right amount of pressure for each track is the first step to a good lap. Be aware that high pressure also leads to more surface tire temperature which will increase their wearout. The temperature should never exceed 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit).
Generally, we recommend not to have too much difference between your front and rear pressure as this disrupts the balance of your car.
Camber and Toe
Another setup factor influencing tire wear is camber and toe. Adding more angle to these settings can give you a bit more grip. But this also means your tires won’t touch the circuit with their full surface. Therefore, more angle also equals more tire wear.
The disadvantage of more tire wear outweighs the little benefit you gain from camber and toe. Therefore, we advise to set camber and toe angle as low as possible.
What to do on high speed circuits
Let’s go out on track now. F1 is all about speed and there are a lot of circuits with medium or high-speed corners. The longer they are, the more will they nibble away at your front tires. Shanghai, Paul Ricard or Zandvoort are good examples of circuits that contain such corners.
There are two major techniques to avoid tire wear. First, make sure you take the smoothest line through a corner that requires as little steering as possible. The more you turn your wheel at high speeds, the faster your front tires will melt, especially the one on the outside.
Also, try to lower your speed in a corner. This might seem unintuitive at first because you usually want to race as fast as possible. But be aware that more tire wear might force you to do an additional pit stop which will cost you more than 20 seconds. Going a bit slower in a corner is actually a good trade-off compared to the alternative.
Saving tires out of corners
There are not only high-speed corners on the calendar, but also a lot of traction zones which can be a real challenge for your rear tires. In these zones, your car has to accelerate very hard out of slow corners. You can find a lot of those sections on tracks like Azerbaijan, Singapore, or Belgium.
Sometimes your car will face a lot of oversteer and you will notice that you lose the rear end of your car. Prevent this from happening in order to save your tires.
The oversteer comes from your rear tires not having enough grip to transmit all of the power you apply on the track. There are two racing techniques to avoid this.
Number one is to push the throttle less hard on the exit. That will not only decrease your tire wear but also give your car more stability and a smoother acceleration if done right.
Number two is choosing higher gears upon acceleration. Don’t be afraid to choose a higher gear for an exit since these still have a lot of torque and power in F1 cars. If you’re a more experienced racer, you should also try to combine this technique with short shifting, which means gearing up earlier than you usually would.
When to pit and how to exercise
If you manage to follow all these pieces of advice, your tires will definitely last for more laps. But when should you consider pitting? There is no fixed value of tire wear that indicates the need to change tires.
During your race, you should always watch your lap times. If you notice that your times became a tenth or two slower than usual because of tire wear, that is perfectly fine. However, if you suddenly start to lose more and more tenths at a certain point, you know it’s time to pit.
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A good way to work on your tire management is free practice. The tire program can help you to give you an overall feedback on how tire-friendly your setup is. It is also helpful because the degradation bar will give you an instant feedback if you melt your tires in a certain corner.
Do not forget that saving your tires is a key to victory. Don’t push too hard or you will have to pit an additional time. Follow our advices and a good tire management will lead you to the top!